I’ll never forget my first trip to Costa Rica. The rain forest. The lush landscape. The gorgeous tropical birds, dashes of bright color weaving through the trees. I’d been there to volunteer, to help others, but ended up falling in love with a beautiful local boy, Marco. How handsome he was – coppery skin darkened by the sun, dark curls falling into his oversized deep brown eyes. We spent that summer together, but my home city, work, responsibility, all the trappings of adulthood, called me back. I never saw him again.
I’m standing next to my husband in an ornate restaurant, surrounded by our family and closest friends. It’s our 25th wedding anniversary. My daughter, visiting from college, beams at me from her table. My husband is giving a speech about how blessed we both are to have found our perfect match. “We never do anything halfway,” he says, as our friends chuckle. I smile and nod and laugh at the appropriate parts, but I’m not really there. I’m hearing the call of the birds, feeling the balmy breeze in my hair, as Marco slips his rough hand in mine and leads me to the ocean.